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Krabi

 

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Krabi is one of the southern provinces (changwat) of Thailand, at the shore of the Andaman Sea. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang. The Phuket province to the west is also neighboring, but without any land boundary. The capital of the region is the city of Krabi.

Krabi town is very close to the river mouth that opens to the great Andaman Sea. Krabi river flows about 5 km through the town and opens into the Andaman sea at Tambon Pak Nam. Quite a few other rivulets originating from the mountain ranges in the province , Kao Panom Benja ; the Klong Pakasai, Klong Krabi Yai and Klong Krabi Noy, also joins the sea at this area.

Most notable are the solitary limestone hills, both on the land and in the sea as islands. Rock climbers from all over the world travel to Ton Sai Beach and Railay Beach to climb. These beaches form part of Krabi's Phra Nang Peninsula. Of about 154 islands belonging to the province, Ko Phi Phi Leh is perhaps the most famous, as it was the set of the movie The Beach. The coast of the province was badly damaged by the tsunami on December 26 2004.

Other islands include: Ko Phi Phi Don, part of the Phi Phi Islands, and Ko Lanta, a larger island to the south.

The limestone hills contain many caves, most having beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Tham Chao Le and Tham Phi Hua To, both in Ao Luek district, contain prehistoric rock-painting depicting humans, animals as well as geometrical shapes. In Lang Rong Rien cave in 1986 archaeologists found 40,000 year old human artifacts - stone tools, pottery as well as bones. It is one of the oldest traces of human occupation in all South-East Asia. The caves of Krabi are also one of the main sources of nests of the Edible-nest Swiftlet, used to create bird's nest soup.
Krabi's population includes Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Moken (sea gypsies) and around 42% of Muslims, which form a majority in the rural areas. Krabi however, has been little affected by the Muslim militant insurgency that has plagued other southern provinces of Thailand since 2003 and its population lives in peace and harmony. Outside of the provincial town, the rural folk speak with a thick Southern dialect which is difficult for even other Thais to understand.

Traditionally Krabi's inhabitants were mainly engaged in works related to agriculture, for the province is rich in rubber, palm, oil, and oranges. In recent years tourism has become an important source of income.

History

According to archaeological evidence, the area that is now called "Krabi" province had been a community since prehistoric period, yet there was no documentary evidence about this.

During King Rama V's reign (1868-1910), this land was called Pakasai sub-county under the direct jurisdiction of Nakhon Si Thammarat province. After the governor of the province sent his officials to catch elephants here, many more people from Nakhon Si Thammarat province immigrated to settle down in the area.

Around 1872, King Rama V elevated Pakasai sub-county to be Krabi province with the provincial administration office situated at Krabi-yai sub-county (in Muang district at present). But it was still subjected to Nakhon Si Thammarat's control. At present, the office is located near the estuary at Pak Nam sub-district. Its first governor was Laung Thep Sena. In 1875, Rama V had an order to separate Krabi from Nakhon Si Thammarat and to have it ruled by Bangkok.

There are two legends mentioning the meaning of "Krabi". The first had it that villagers presented a large ancient sword (krabi in Thai) they discovered by chance to the governor. They also did the same thing when a smaller one was found later. Regarded as sacred and auspicious, the governor would like to keep them in the province. But the provincial establishment was still in progress, so they were placed crossing each other in the cave named Khao Khanap Nam. This was the origin of the province's emblem.

The second legend had it that "Krabi" was derived from a name of local tree "Lumphi". The Malay and Chinese merchants made its pronunciation slightly corrupted and became "Ka-lu-bi" or "Kho-lo-bi", which finally turned to "Krabi" (sword).

Info

Krabi

Location & Area
This coastal province on the Andaman seaboard is 814 kilometres south of Bangkok, covering an area of 4,709 sq.km. It adjoins Phang-nga and Surat Thani on the North; Trang and the Andaman Sea on the South; Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat on the East; and Phang-nga and the Andaman Sea on the West.

Climate
Due to the influence of the tropical monsoon, there are only two seasons in this province; the hot season from January to April and the rainy season from May to December. Temperatures range between 17 °C and 37 °C

Geography
Krabi's topography is mostly mountains and highlands alternated with plains in some parts. The provincial administration also covers more than 130 islands in the Andaman Sea. The sandy soil conditions are suitable for growing various agricultural products, particularly rubber trees, palms, coconuts, cashew nuts and coffee. The Krabi River flows 5 kilometres through the city and joins the Andaman at Pak Nam Sub-district. There are several streams which originate from the province's highest mountain range, Khao Phanom Bencha.

Population
410,634 (end Dec 2007) with 206,048 males and 204,586 females.

"The total population includes only permanent residents."

Administration
Krabi is divided into 8 counties (amphoes): Muang, Khao Phanom, Khlong Thom, Plai Phraya, Ko Lanta, Au Luek, Lam Thap and Nua Khlong.

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